Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Real Cost of Rip-offs

The Real Cost of Rip-offs
written by:  Tracy Mancinelli, KnollStudio-Atlanta, LEED AP

Today, one of the biggest challenges in our industry is the value of design.  Designers use their special talents to create functional spaces to meet their client's needs and budgets.  Sometimes, the client doesn't understand the designer's value or will skimp on the investment to pay the project's worth.  Or even worse, the client will try to rip-off the design by doing it less expensively. 

This is a nationwide issue for our Design industry.  Dwell recently published an article that discusses the real cost of being ripped-off.  The furniture market is saturated with knock-offs.  Unbeknownst to the user, they may want the authentic design but sway to the lesser cost product for the "look."  This comes with compromise and often times disappointment.  

Some clients have separated into 3 categories:  the Investors, the Disposers, and the Blind.

The Investors understand the value of investing in quality design and furnishings.  Usually they plan to keep the furniture for 10+ years or pass it down to their children.  Authentic design is important to them.  They want to know that they have the brand that will become a conversation or pure taste.  It's art and an image - not in a snobby way.  Additionally, their needs can be met with original designs of newer designers that may not yet have the high ticket prices of the Classics. 

The Disposers want high-design, but they just can't stomach the cost to purchase the "real" items.  They don't value the quality of manufacture and they do not plan to keep their furnishings for more than 5 years.  "Fakes" will work for them (it's like buying a purse on Canal St. in NY). They will just dispose of it and start over when the object begins to fail.  How sustainable is that?!

The Blind, well, they just don't care about aesthetics!  It's all about function and price.  And they will seek out the cheapest way to get it.  This type can't see the design value.  They need a desk  -  Sawhorses and a hollow door will work just fine for them.  They may even paint it a garish color!  The Blind are not a design client.  Possibly, they belong on TLC's "What Not to Wear."

So how do we understand the real cost of Rip-offs?  How do we protect our design industry and hold value to our work and the products that make up a space that is well designed?  Read the article link from Dwell and you'll understand the heavy price....

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